Light drinkers beware: buzzed driving is drunk driving

When people think about drinking and driving, they often assume it mostly happens on special occasions like New Year’s Eve. There’s some truth to that, but it’s important to recognize that the “high season” for drunk driving runs from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

It’s not that people are more lenient towards drinking and driving during this period. It’s often that they don’t realize they’re impaired.

It can be easy to lose track of your drinking, but it’s crucial not to. A couple of glasses of wine at an after-work event might be fine, but add in just one holiday cocktail and you might easily have enough alcohol in your system to be over the legal limit of 0.08%.

That’s because it may only take three to four drinks for the average person to reach 0.08%. And those are standard drinks, not anything particularly strong. But there are many factors that come into play in determining blood alcohol.

You should take extra care if you’re on prescription medications. Some medications may interact with alcohol in a way that makes you more intoxicated than you would otherwise be. This could result in an impaired driving charge even if you aren’t at 0.08% blood-alcohol content.

That’s right: You can be charged with DUI even if you don’t blow a 0.08%. This is because a police officer’s opinion about your level of impairment can be presented as legal evidence of intoxication. If an officer has reason to conclude you are impaired, you can be charged and convicted of DUI.

Moreover, you could be charged with child endangerment if you’re found driving impaired with a child passenger in your car.

Could you end up arrested for DUI this season?

It’s important to remember that any alcohol impairment is too much for safe driving. Unfortunately, there is a lot of alcohol available during the holidays. Sometimes, people won’t stop offering it and even pressure others to drink.

You might be at risk for a DUI charge if you indulge in alcohol at family get-togethers, work events, while watching sporting events or anytime there is alcohol available. There are plenty of events planned during this holiday season, which is especially packed this year due to the lateness of Thanksgiving.

Add in a little winter weather and the distractions of the holiday season, and even drivers who aren’t over the limit could run into trouble. Moreover, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and local police will be engaging in extra enforcement actions all through the holiday season.

If you’ll be drinking this season, be extra careful not to drive if you’re even a little bit tipsy. Otherwise, the holiday lights you remember most might be the spinning lights of a patrol car.

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